Posts Tagged ‘women’s history’

We all remember our firsts, right? First kiss, first friend, first job, and what about your first car! You thought I was heading somewhere else, right? Well, walk with me down memory lane for a bit, because today is International Bacon Day, and I’m living in the South now; and we consider bacon a major part of the food triangle, or plate, or whatever… , but hey who doesn’t like bacon!

Not sure why August 31st received this honor, probably some meat-middle-manager’s idea of a joke, but it seems to be catching on. And it was seeing how Ford was celebrating the day for all things bacon, offering a special decal for their Ford Fiesta, that got me thinking. All vegans please look away now:     bacon---profile-1377696523

I thought back to Bob’s first car, a Ford Galaxy. It was the 60s, of course, so he and his friends decided to papier mache his little hot rod in paisley! Here is what he had to say about it, and since it’s in a language I don’t understand called auto-speak, I’ll quote,

“It was my first car, a 1960 Ford Galaxy 500, with a 390 cu in engine, dual Holley four-barrel carbs, and a Hurst four-speed shifter.”  Paisley Ford 1969 B

I never got to ride in that baby, we had broken up when we left for college, and he had gone the way of Woodstock. Alas. That’s him in the black shirt upper right, looking like a Sgt Pepper’s cover shoot. You can get a glimpse of the colorful paisley hood in the front of the picture.

I was one of the rare few with a car in high school. It was an ancient red Renault that I inherited from a brother who either went off to college or to a kibbutz and left me in charge of it. It was super tiny for the day, about the size of a Mini Cooper that was swimming around with huge Caddies and their sharp fins.  I remember swerving through puddles and playing that game where you stop suddenly and everybody jumps out and rearranges themselves in the car, like circus clowns. Oh yeah, I packed people into that beauty!

Yes folks, that was the worst of my teenage crimes against humanity. I left it to others to drive across the state line for a beer run, my stepfather was a judge, so that just wouldn’t do.

My moment of grace was when that same brother, Eric, taught me how to start up the Renault on a hill. We pulled up to a stop sign at a very good angle, pulled up that little parking brake, and since i didn’t know any better, I just kept trying. We inched further and further backwards down the hill, until I finally got the synchronization of brake, clutch and gear. Thank you for your patience big brother!

It wasn’t until later that I learned that not “all girls” knew hot to drive a stick shift on the floor. Was the automatic shift invented when more women started driving or something? The Bride informed me that she was the only one of her friends who could drive a shift. Let’s hope our little Baby Bug will have the opportunity to learn about a four speed stick. Here is the cutest 1 year old in her latest big girl ride! Now, go and cook some bacon! photo

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Imagine a time when women were addressed by their husband’s name, Mrs Andrew Ford for example. Imagine a time when we couldn’t vote, or inherit property. I know, it’s hard for us to imagine all this, although when I went off to college I was not allowed to wear pants on the street or in any fine restaurant. We were not given a tie, like a man who might show up tie-less, and told we could now enter their dining establishment, we were just scooted out. Girls were dying or becoming infertile because this was before Roe vs Wade, and back-alley abortions were as common as…coat hangers. Our lives were less than, and then we changed all that.

And Maybe the exPresident of France married a model, and maybe President Xi Jinping of China married a pop singer. But our President married a no-nonsense lawyer. And good for Michelle, for not tolerating a heckler. Bravo! “I do not do this.” Haven’t we all wanted to shout that to the roof tops? I do not mop floors! I do not bake cookies! I do not join PTAs!! I know, I did all those things, but still… I remember when a cousin told me she just doesn’t cook, and I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Shame on you people who thought Michelle was acting like an “angry Black woman.” Here we go again, trying to restrain our evil womanly ways, and spinning it like it’s a racist thing. I was so happy she came out of her First Lady persona to call out a heckler, at a gay fundraiser. She went right up in her face, she got in her grille. And that’s just the way you want to fight, standing up for yourself, defending your right to be there, to speak your mind. So it’s fitting we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of a little known English Suffragette this month, Emily Davison.

At the 1913 Epsom Derby in Manchester, Emily threw herself into tho ring to place a Suffragette banner on the King’s horse, at full gallup. Good idea, bad execution, since 4 days later she died of her injuries.  An active, determined fighter for women’s voting rights, “She was frequently arrested for acts ranging from causing a public disturbance to burning post boxes and was sentenced to a month’s hard labour in Strangeways after throwing rocks at chancellor David Lloyd George’s carriage. During her sentence, she went on hunger strike and blockaded herself into her cell, leading prison staff to turn a hose on her and almost fill her room with water.”                                                   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-22826644

Today, it is hard to believe that we had to witness yet another panel of mostly military men (yes, there was 1 woman) sitting before Congress. And exploring the level of sexual assault in the services has reminded me of the Catholic Church looking into pedophilia and priests. The word clueless comes to mind. So, I’m asking our First Lady, a staunch supporter of the military, to step up; tell Congress and the Pentagon we don’t do this. American women are not only wearing pants in the street and in battle today, they are bringing home the bacon once they return in record numbers, and they are being treated as less than by their superior officers. Please sign this petition: https://www.thisispersonal.org942532_492383090840563_145442712_n  And Michelle, if you want to stay home for your daughter’s birthday this weekend, that’s fine by me!


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Women are making history left and right. Today Rosie Napravnik, a 25 year old Jersey girl, may just be the first woman jockey to win the Kentucky Derby. When she started out as a teenager, she was told to list herself as “A R Napravnik” in 2005. “A trainer suggested that listing so as not to advertise she was female and perhaps diminish her opportunities to get mounts. He said, ‘We can’t let anybody know that you’re a girl.'” Even after Julie Krone won a Triple Crown race in 1993 by finishing first at the Belmont Stakes; Rosie still had to go all Victor Victoria.

And for another first, an American woman has landed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List. Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Shakur) was a Black Panther and later a leader in the Black Liberation Army. In 1979 she fled to Cuba after making a daring prison escape. She was serving a life sentence for her involvement in a police officer’s death on the NJ Turnpike. “The FBI is offering a reward of up to $1m (£640,000) for information leading to her capture, while the state of New Jersey is separately offering another $1m. FBI agent Aaron Ford said that the agency would ‘pursue justice, no matter how long it takes.'” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22397295

I’m figuring she must be a grandmother by now. In her defense, Chesimard argued that she was shot with her hands up in the air, and so she didn’t – or couldn’t – pull the trigger. The medical evidence seemed to validate her view of that fateful traffic stop. She was shot in the right arm and collarbone: “Dr. David Spain, a pathologist from Brookdale Community College, testified that her bullet scars as well as X-rays supported her claim that her arms were raised, and that there was “no conceivable way” the first bullet could have hit Shakur’s clavicle if her arm was down.” Still, in NJ to be an accomplice in a shooting is enough to be found guilty.

So all my feminist hackles have been raised this week, a first running in the Derby and a first to run from the law… and live. And I thought I’d share a chuckle from an editor at Upworthy, a talented young writer I’ve started to follow on twitter. Rebecca Eisenberg writes a blog called “Never Sarcastic.” She tweeted

“How to dress for your shape? Are you human-shaped?” which led to one hilarious riff back and forth regarding women’s magazine headlines. This was one of mine: “How to get a hot body? Run outside or take a hot yoga class.” http://ryeisenberg.tumblr.com/post/48204810905/agentotter-islandofmisfitt0ys

“Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body!” And RUN Rosie RUN!

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Red ghillies and oxfords, while we’re in the mood, high heels and sandals.

When we were packing up the house to move South, my daughter was helping with my closet. She’d lined up my shoes in 3 orderly groups – 1) shoes I definitely want to keep; 2) shoes I may want to keep; 3) shoes to give or throw away. Naturally, the second group was overflowing, which led her to ask me this simple question,
“How many (insert color) shoes do you need?”

No apology, I happen to love shoes, in all their myriad shapes and colors. There are pictures of me with my foster sister and her fiancee on a trip to see the circus in NYC. What circus I do not know. I was too young to remember this special trip, but was always told how much I loved my “circus shoes.” In black and white, CLR Child w Jackie 20130125I am beaming happiness with a little pair of oxfords on my feet. Perhaps this is where my need to see the Big Apple Circus every year with my children arose. Being able to wear only oxfords in Sacred Heart School, and only penny loafers at Camp St Joseph may be factors in my fashionable fetish. For sports at camp or school, we would wear white Keds, so you see we had little choice growing up in the 50s. There is also the lasting value in classic design. Trends may come and go, you can gain or lose a few pounds, but a classic pair of good leather shoes can last a lifetime! Though, fair warning to you pregnant girls, my shoe size increased by half with each child. I asked the Rocker once why he needs so many guitars, he looked at me and said, “Why do you need so many shoes?”

I’ve written here about shoes a number of times. About our town’s famously decadent shoe store Scarpa, https://mountainmornings.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/small-times/
I remember writing about the fashion writer who stood staring at the one red shoe in a gigantic see-through bin of discarded shoes at the Holocaust museum. Once, while writing about Pinterest, I even included a picture of my shoe shelves: https://mountainmornings.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/pining-or-pinning-that-is-the-question/

One of the first gifts I bought when I found out the Bride was pregnant with a girl was a pair of pink leather shoes. Will they be helpful in her quest to start walking, like those overly-polished and re-polished white Stride Rites I laced up my baby’s feet? Probably not. Will they be ever so adorable, absolutely! I was star-struck once while strolling down Madison Avenue with my sister Kay. We stopped short in front of a fancy children’s boutique with pink leather Italian shoes in the window. Of course, I had to get them for the toddler Bride, even if they might only last her a few months.

There have been Picasso shoe periods. The 60s teen years of wearing Weejuns, penny loafers without pennies, polished just so with black to tone down the oxblood color. The dancing decade of wearing espadrilles with rope you wind around your ankle, very Isadora Duncan. The Pappagallo phase of pastel and mini bows with Queen Anne heels paired nicely with mini skirts. Thankfully I never went in for the high dollar, designer stilettos of Sex and the City; either I was just too old wise or whygobroke/killing/your/feet.

So if you love shoes, you may enjoy reading this historical essay on shoes and gender and power, “Why DID Men Stop Wearing High Heels?” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21151350 _65446635_red_soled_compositeThink of Louis XIV, initially men wore heels in order to ride a horse and the height and color became tied with rank and royalty. But eventually, “High heels were seen as foolish and effeminate. By 1740 men had stopped wearing them altogether.” We women dropped the need for height after the French revolution too, but for some insane reason, in the mid-19th Century, we decided it might be nice to squeeze our feet into high heels again…well, if you read the article you’ll learn why, and it’s not pretty.

But take heart, these teeny tiny feet are ready to dance in the Music City. Thank you velcro, and thank you ecommerce for making fancy baby shoes as easy to find as say, a good pair of Minnetonka slippers.

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